2013-04-11 / Letters

Rural Roads Safety Week April 14-20

To The Editor:

With spring’s arrival, farmers are heading to the fields to plant their crops across Pennsylvania. As a result, residents in rural areas will be seeing more tractors and large planting equipment on local roads. During Rural Roads Safety Week, April 14-20, 2013, the Fulton County Farm Bureau is encouraging all motorists to be aware of farm equipment as they travel in rural areas this spring, and all yearlong.

“Rural road safety is an important issue year-round, but it is especially important at this time of year,” said Fulton County Farm Bureau President Marlin Lynch. “Farmers will be out with large pieces of equipment, and motorists must remain alert for slower-moving vehicles.”

Lynch added that a few simple steps can help drivers stay safe when operating vehicles on rural roads:

Don’t Rush: if you drive on rural road, chances are good that you will encounter farm equipment at some point on your route. Avoid rushing and allow plenty of time to reach your destination safely. This is especially important while traveling during the months between April and November.

Pass with Care. If you feel you must pass the farmer, do so with caution. Be observant of oncoming traffic and for other vehicles that may try to pass. Never pass when curves or hills block your view of oncoming vehicles, you are in a “No Passing Zone” or within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad grade crossing, bridge, elevated structure or tunnel. Also be careful that the farmer is not pulling to the right to make a wide left turn.

SMV = Brake Immediately. The orange triangular Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblem warns drivers of a slow vehicle speed. All farm equipment traveling at speeds of 25 miles per hour or less are required to be marked with a SMV emblem. Once you see it, slow down immediately.

Remain Visible. Don’t assume that the farmer knows that you are driving near his vehicle. While most farmers will check behind them whenever possible, they are concentrating on keeping their equipment on the road and avoiding oncoming traffic. Before you pass, use your car’s horn to let the driver know where you are. Farmers may not be able to hear you over their equipment noise.

“Cooperating among farmers and rural motorists is the key to rural roads safety,” said Lynch. “If farmers and motorists look out for one another, everyone will arrive at their destination safely.”

Marlin Lynch

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